The first case against a Texas man suspected of killing 18 elderly women in the Dallas region over a two-year period was declared a mistrial Friday after jurors couldn’t agree on a conviction.
Billy Chemirmir was charged with the murder of 81-year-old Lu Thi Harris at a trial in which his lawyers provided no evidence and summoned no witnesses. The jury, which began deliberations on Thursday, informed Judge Raquel Jones on Friday that they were “hopelessly deadlocked” at 11-1. Jones pushed them to continue talking before concluding that there would be no resolution.
The majority of jurors did not appear to agree on a verdict.
The defense anticipates that its client will face a new trial in connection with Harris’ death. They said the prosecution failed to prove its guilt beyond a logical doubt and referred to Chemirmir’s evidence as “circumstantial.”
In March 2018, police detained the 48-year-old suspect after he allegedly tried to force his way into to the apartment of Mary Annis Bartell, 91, of Plano, Texas.This led investigators to Chemirmir’s adjacent residence, where they reportedly discovered Harris-related documents. When they arrived at Harris’ Dallas house, they discovered her dead in her bedroom, along with a pillow coated with lipstick.
Bartell died in 2020, but not before recording a deposition in which she said the suspect tried to suffocate her with a pillow. The recording was shown to the jury. In the case, prosecutors accused Chemirmir with attempted murder.
Jurors were also shown security footage of Harris and Chemirmir shopping at the same Walmart hours before her death was discovered. Prosecutors claim the guy followed another one of his victims home from the same store before killing her in a separate incident.
Following Chemirmir’s arrest, investigators said that they had begun investigating hundreds of open cases involving elderly victims.
He was later linked to the killings of 17 more people. Following their loved ones’ deaths, the relatives of several of those elderly victims filed police reports after noticing jewellery was gone.
The majority of the ladies he is suspected of murdering were residents of assisted living facilities. According to investigators, he pretended to be a handyman on occasion. He is also suspected of murdering a lady who was married to one of the men for whom Chemirmir worked as a caregiver.
If convicted, Chemirmir, a Kenyan immigrant who acquired a US citizen in 2007, faces life in jail. Prosecutors decided without seeking the death penalty.
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